Arsenal’s tightest ever defence, but we didn’t win the league.

In 1999 Arsenal concluded the season having conceded just 17 league goals – their lowest ever league total.  The top four read…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester United 38 22 13 3 80 37 43 79
2 Arsenal 38 22 12 4 59 17 42 78
3 Chelsea 38 20 15 3 57 30 27 75
4 Leeds United 38 18 13 7 62 34 28 67

In only one league match did Arsenal conceded more than one goal:

13 Dec 1998 Aston Villa v Arsenal L 3-2 Premier League

Here are the anniversaries…

16 May 1881: Teddy Bateup, Arsenal goalkeeper, born.  He is referred to in books as Edward and Edwin, and there is also disagreement about his earliest clubs.  Croydon Glenrose, the Dragoon Guards, and Faversham are all mentioned.

16 May 1891, At its AGM Royal Arsenal voted against forming a Ltd company but in favour of professionalism, and offered to resign from the London FA and the Kent FA – but despite later reports in Arsenal handbooks to the contrary, neither FA took up the offer with local clubs preferring to continue to play the most prestigious team in the region.  It’s a perfect example of Arsenal history being written without fact checking.

16 May 1910: Rumours circulated that Tottenham, Chelsea and Rangers FC were trying to buy shares in Woolwich Arsenal FC. See also here.    See here for the Rangers story.

16 May 1912: Arsenal 4 Deutscher Prague 1  This was the third of nine games in Arsenal’s 18 day European tour.

16 May 1922: The final British troops left Ireland.

16 May 1925: Knighton, Arsenal’s first manager at Highbury, departed to make way for Chapman. It was 23 years before Knighton wrote his autobiography which remorselessly criticised Sir Henry Norris, using a range of allegations which have since been found to be false, and yet are still propagated to this day.

16 May 1934: Jack Crayston joined from Bradford PA for £5250 with George Allison saying he was impressed by his sober lifestyle. He was an immediate success, scoring in his first league appearance and winning the league in his first season.

16 May 1962: Jack Kelsey injured his back playing for Wales against Brazil.  As a result he had to retire.  Arsenal was his only senior club, and he played 327 times for the club in the league.

16 May 1980: Arsenal beat Wolverhampton Wanderers away 2-1 to keep the dream of playing in Europe in the following season alive, despite having lost in both the FA and CWC finals. Walford and Stapleton scored.

16 May 1998: Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0.  FA Cup final.  The second double was completed.  (The story continues in part 2 and part 3.)  Without Bergkamp available Arsenal played Christopher Wreh as centre forward rather than Ian Wright.

16 May 1999: Arsenal concluded the season with a 1-0 win over Villa to finish second just one point behind Man U.  More notably however Arsenal finished having conceded 17 goals – their lowest ever total.


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